In Touch with Prairie Living

June 2017

By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

June 1st marks my 50th year at North Dakota State University in Fargo (1967 – 2017). My lifelong dream has been to keep alive and enhance the heritage and culture of the Germans from Russia.

The World Premiere of the new documentary, Gutes Essen: Good Eating in German-Russian Country, will be July 12 at 7:30 p.m., Heritage Center, Bismarck, ND. The documentary is sponsored by Prairie Public and the Tri-County Tourism Alliance. The event is free and open to the general public.

The documentary features ten women living in Emmons, Logan and McIntosh counties sharing their memories, cooking and canning. Children from 4-H clubs learn from their mothers and grandmothers preparing recipes. Local businesses demonstrate the commercial side of making of kuchen, plachenda, fleischkuechla and homemade sausage.

This will be the 9th documentary of the award-winning Germans from Russia Series of Prairie Public.

The 47th Germans from Russia Heritage Society International Convention will be July 12-16, Ramkota Hotel, Bismarck. The convention includes a German meal at the Heritage Center with knoephla, sauerkraut, sausage, and kuchen. The dinner is before the documentary World Premiere.

The featured keynote speaker for the convention is Monsignor James P. Shea, President, University of Mary, Bismarck.

Convention workshops will include: My Parents Story of Soviet Exile & Finding a New Life in Canada; Cooking a Traditional Sauerkraut and Knoephla Dinner; Growing Up German; The Art of Making Plachenta; 1896: A Snap Shot into German-Russian Cultural Customs; German-Russian Farming before GMO’s; Great Humorous Stories and Jokes of Our German Relatives; Lives of Ethnic Germans in Soviet Exile During & After WWII; Date with Kate: Behind the Silk Curtains of Catherine the Great; Experiencing the History of My Ancestors in the Kutschurgan Colonies.

For further information about the convention schedule and registration, go to

The North Dakota and USA premiere of the new 45-minute documentary, Waiting for Waldemar will be on July 16 at 2 p.m., Heritage Center, Bismarck. The film is about a German family that escaped from Russia to Germany during World War II.

The GRHC will have displays and information tables at the Kulm, North Dakota, 125th Celebration on Friday, June 23, at the Hometown Credit Union, 117 Main Avenue South, from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. The Kulm/Fredonia area has many families with Bessarabian German heritage. The Kulm 125th is June 23-25.

On Sunday, June 25 at Zeeland, ND, there will be a celebration of the City Hall named to the National Register of Historic Places by the State Historical Society of North Dakota. The featured speaker will be Zeeland native, Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert, head football coach, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. A German-Russian meal will be served.The GRHC will have displays at the Zeeland City Hall.

An important new book is The German Settlements in Bessarabia: A Study of the German Immigration to, Successful Settlement in, and Ultimate Abandonment of Bessarabia, authored by Burkett W. Huey. Huey will present Demographic Patterns Among the Bessarabian Germans at the GRHS Convention.

The author provides a valuable addition to these GRHC hardcover published books: Bessarabia: German Colonists on the Black Sea (2011); Sunflowers and Thistles: Bessarabian-Germans Speak Out (2016); and Another World: From the Life of Germans in Bessarabia, Sketches & Poems (2014).

The Welk Homestead State Historic Site located near Strasburg, ND, is open to the public Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. The site is open Thursdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information is available at and

If you would like more information about the 22nd Journey to the Homeland Tour to Germany and Ukraine (May, 2018); becoming a Friend of the GRHC, or would like donate (family histories and photographs), contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 6050, Dept. 2080, Fargo, ND 58108-6050. (Tel: 701-231-8416); Email:; website:

June column for North Dakota and South Dakota weekly newspapers.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller